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Cancer For Christmas: Five Ways To Make Christmas Enjoyable For Loved Ones Enduring Chemotherapy

Recently I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Even though I have known cancer survivors and there is tons of literature on surviving cancer, I have discovered there are still a few surprises. My friends and family have been a wonderful support. Here are five ways that I have discovered, along with them, to be able to endure chemotherapy and still enjoy Christmas.

Scents- After my first treatment I noticed that there were scents that were intolerable to me. The scent of anything with a chemical base was particularly obnoxious, cleaning products, perfume and scented candles to name a few. If you are helping a loved one by cleaning for them, vinegar and water works best. Add a few drops of lavender oil to any generic, odorless lotion instead of using perfume. Scented candles are best tolerated when not lit. Leaving the lid off of a candle in a jar adds just enough scent to the room. Better than candles, however, are oranges spiked with cloves, sprigs of rosemary or mint for aromatherapy.

Foods- There are different side effects of chemotherapy that make eating difficult, especially in the first week. I discovered very early on that ice cream is my friend. Bring a loved one several pints of different flavors. While onion and garlic are foods you want to have in your diet, they are too harsh at this time. Instead, I use garlic flavored olive oil and shallots or leeks instead of onions. When I can eat solid food, I practically live on pasta sautťed in a little garlic flavored olive oil, parsley and lots of asiago cheese.

A Christmas Tree- Fatigue is a very real side effect of almost all types of chemotherapy. Decorating for Christmas just feels like too much to handle but having no decorations would be too depressing and a reminder of how difficult life is this year. Volunteer to put up a Christmas tree for loved ones and take it down. There are also some beautiful table top trees which are inexpensive that you can bring as a gift. I get great joy from my tree which my girls set up for me. It is a cheery spot on a gloomy day.

Laughter- Bring them DVDís that are light hearted or comedic in nature. Old shows such as I Love Lucy or Abbot and Costello keep me laughing. I also enjoy romantic comedies such as Sleepless in Seattle or Youíve Got Mail. Now is not the time to keep CNN on a running loop on the TV. While I am aware of all of the horrific things that can and are happening in the world, I canít deal with an influx of that information at this time. I find when fighting for my life, I want to remember all of the reasons that life is good and well worth fighting for.

I am a person- Remember when dealing with a loved one that they are still a person, not a disease. I tend to laugh and make jokes about what is happening to me. I get asked all of the time how I can joke about the cancer. How can I not? I laughed and joked before I got cancer and some of the side effects are just too ridiculous for words, what I like to call Godís little ironies. For instance, how can I lose all of the hair on my body, in places I donít even want to mention but still have hairy knees? Is the hair on my knees super hair?

Please keep in mind that no matter what you try and do for a loved one, cancer is a solitary event. Everyoneís experience is different. I am one of the lucky ones. They caught my cancer very early. When I am finished my treatments, I can look forward to a very high rate of recovery. Having said that, I hope these ideas which I have shared help to brighten this Christmas for you and your loved ones.

Submitted by:

Constance Weygandt

Constance Weygandt is an author, speaker and balance mentor. For more articles on Christmas or balanced wellness or to receive her free ezine, visit her at http://www.balancedwellnessonline.com




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